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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Which VLE? in Technical; We had a demonstration of sharepointLMS earlier this week which looked good, would need to see it in action in ...
  1. #16
    skunk's Avatar
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    We had a demonstration of sharepointLMS earlier this week which looked good, would need to see it in action in a school to see usage uptake. I agree with you ictstbenedicts, the non IT literate teachers have to the target, if they can use it, then the interface has been cracked as far as useability is concerned.

    Frog is prohibitavely expensive for us, which is a shame as it looks nice. For the price, the school would expect it to take the exams for the kids as well as teach them.

  2. #17

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    I seem to always say this on these forums but have you looked at Google Apps for ED. The website part is sooo simple to use but very powerful. A teacher can create a word doc, upload it and then share it between the class without any knowledge of what's going on under the bonnet. Google are very good at making things simple to use. You can create a question-air in 2 mins and as people fill in the info you get a nice speadsheet with charts automatically created without ever needing to how it happens. And its FREE

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  4. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ictstbenedicts View Post
    I await "incoming fire" for daring to knock Moodle and for supporting teachers ICT needs!
    Seems an odd statement, as if only you are doing this. Damn me for spending about 10 hours this week Moodling for my own selfish ends. Ohh wait, no that was to support teachers ICT needs.

    Staff here don't have an issue with the Moodle interface once we've gone through it. There are some eccentricities, as with any software, but once explained they get them, to varying degrees depending on IT literacy, will and stubbornness. The biggest issue is for them to evaluate how they will use Moodle & how they work now. The departments we have the most problems with are those that do their own thing, not only from other departments but from each other in that one department. They now understand that although there is a whole heap of work at the moment it will be easier in the months and years to come. Any VLE will force departments to do this unless they are allowed to just do their own thing and then you end up with a mess that students, parents and staff alike will avoid.

    As for drag and drop, it may be easier and more visually pleasing but it causes it's own issues and isn't conducive to a web interface. We had a drag and drop set-up previously and it ended up being a drag and forget system. Departments accumulated tons of resources and work sheets that they no longer knew they had, would redesign a course and duplicate these resources and then have another re-jig and forget where things where. There would be folders from teachers that no longer taught but had to be kept as they had some good resources. The folder will have a last accessed date of when that teacher left.

    If by "an organisational structured to permanently hand-hold staff" you mean have some technical support then I agree. I wouldn't recommend Moodle to a Primary unless they had someone that was in charge or came in to help. If you mean SMT that push projects forward then I agree otherwise it would be left to rot except fro one or 2 staff. If you mean have support staff that do everything then I'd agree but say you are doing it wrong, need to take a stronger stand and get some training done, painful at first but gets easier.

    Unless you buy in something like Frog that is managed externally & has a huge team supporting it behind the scenes, which you pay for, then any VLE will need support and staff will need help.

    As for the OP question, we have seen Kaleidos, had Uniservity and now have Moodle. Kaleidos is pretty but I would say expensive & I have issues with how easy it is to adjust for staff. Uniservity has an odd look and can get confusing very quickly. Moodle needs some one to care for it, can look pretty with work and has so many ways to configure it that staff et bewildered so have a school plan that they can default to. All of them will need SMT to push it through.

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  6. #19
    zag
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    Sharepoint will do what you want in a simple way. Most of our staff don't even know they are using it as its our internet start page.

    There is virtually no learning curve either as its just like using Microsoft office.

    Sure it doesn't have all the extra "e-learning" stuff that you get with moodle but you really need to ask yourself if a VLE actually needs that type of thing. Personally I've seen entire courses run from sharepoint with no problem at all.
    Last edited by zag; 27th May 2011 at 04:57 PM.

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    A VLE lives or dies through it's content, if it is difficult to create inspirational content, then you end up either with VLE which is essentially a filing system, with a sprinkling of excellent content created by the ICT teacher who loves dabbling with the system.

    I agree that for a VLE to work it needs SMT support, and needs a team of teachers to plan and develop how it is going to be used by the school. The implementation of a VLE should not be work of an individual. This makes no difference whether it's Moodle or Frog or any other system for that matter.

    Frog is at a system level managed externally, so is our current Moodle system. This does not make Moodle easy to use, just gives my department one less service to support at a technical level. One of our options was to change vendors and get Moodle hosted on site, this would then give us MIS integration and AD integration. Frog is hosted on site.

    The issue for the teacher is not about system management, it is about how easy it is for them to create content in that system, without having to understand HTML or appreciating how the system works. One of our teaches compared Moodle to a PC and Frog to an Apple computer (personally I do not agree, but I understand their point).

    At then end of the day, IT don't have to use the system (just support it) therefore any VLE system has to be attractive enough to the end user to get the majority to want to use it with a gentle nudge. If not, enthusiasm drops and the VLE essentially dies in the school.

  9. #21
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    ^^Externally hosted Moodles can have MIS/AD integration if your provider has the knowledge.

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  11. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by bossman View Post
    My daughters school bought Frog and she is quite IT literate yet hated the very essence of it.
    She's not the only one. I'm about at that point at the moment myself.

    If you look to be going down the Frog route, my advice to you after the week I have had is to ensure your SLT know what they are signing themselves up for, what they can expect to get and what they have to give in return - and that they look far beyond the "oooooooh. Pretty. It does eportfolios too!" interface.
    Last edited by TheCrust; 27th May 2011 at 10:21 PM. Reason: Typo - D'oh!

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  13. #23
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    We are looking at content provided by external providers. Staff are not expected to write text books so we are working on the thinking that they should not have to write the majority of the resources for the VLE. Of course, they have to see the VLE as an alternative to the text books as we are not a rich school.

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    The VLE needs to cease to exist as a standalone system, teachers and students do not need to be aware of its existence. All they need to know is that there is an online system where communication and learning happens. This should be integrated with their emails, home directories, learning strands, notices, intranet, chat rooms and anything else the school uses. When they open Internet Explorer they should have everything they need for learning available at the first screen. It needs to be easy to use for teachers creating resources and managing their student's experiences. It needs to be accessible for staff as a file store, homework submission tool and come with a very shallow learning curve.
    All that and more in Frog, and yes it costs more than some VLE's but you get a team of people constantly building new features, widgets and content for you to include on your pages. Besides, when you look at the TCO over 5 years Frog actually works out cheaper than running something like Moodle, where you have to employ someone to look after it, update it etc.

    Give them a call and get a demo sorted out, afterall you can always say no if you don't want it after the demo. Plus they will be able to show you the features you enquired about in a live environment

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    We have FROG and I cannot recommend it, the system is very very poorly designed and an absolute pain to maintain. Send a PM if you want further details.

    Sharepoint would be a far better option.

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    We have a demo of frog coming up next week so will be able to see all the good bits they demo, will have to speak to users to get the lowdown on the admin side.

    very very poorly designed and an absolute pain to maintain
    Which bits are these, it is important that the system is simple to maintain and use?

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    The page builder is a mess where it is usually easier to build an entirely new page than modify an existing one, there are no offline development tools so you are limited by the speed of your network. I'll post later as I have a class to teach... speak to other schools and learn the truth about Frog... whose priorities in development are questionable at best.

    The file and user management facilities are primative to say the least.
    Last edited by A_Teacher_Of_Computing; 10th June 2011 at 01:38 PM.

  18. #28
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    We have Frog and I think it's really easy to maintain! Teachers can easily create their own pages with the WYSIWYG editor built in and the only issue we seem to be having is with the Frog extractor but that seems to be because of an issue with our server that will be replaced over the summer.

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    Primary or Secondary 36?

    I have long held the view that Frog is a tool designed for primary students, its implementation is unsuitable for that of a secondary school.

    It will be sold on the shiny interface till people realise just how limiting this is, graphic rendering is also appaling.

    While I would no longer use slicing to create a page Frog does rather insist on it, however even an round cornered box is unlikey to display correctly due to issues with the system.

  20. #30
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    I will look out for the page creation tools in the demo and enquire about its ease of use.



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